Effective August 15, 2021, a new South Carolina state law will require drivers to only use the far left hand lane on controlled-access highways when overtaking and passing another vehicle. Controlled-access highways, are most commonly interstate highways, but other examples include South Carolina Highways SC-22, SC-31 and SC-277.
For the first ninety (90) days after the effective date (August 15, 2021 – November 13, 2021), only warning tickets may be issued. This offense is not categorized as a criminal offense, but is a civil violation punishable by a fine of up to $25. No court costs may be assessed in addition to the fine and a violator can not be arrested for this offense.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation will install new signs along South Carolina roadways alerting drivers of this new law. This is what you can expect to see across the state.
The state law outlines the following exceptions:
(1) when no other vehicle is directly behind the vehicle in the left lane;
(2) when traffic conditions and congestion make it impractical to drive in the right lane;
(3) when snow and other inclement weather conditions make it safer to drive in the left lane;
(4) when obstructions or hazards exist in the right lane;
(5) when, because of highway design, a vehicle must be driven in the left lane when preparing to exit;
(6) to law enforcement vehicles, ambulances, or other emergency vehicles engaged in official duties and vehicles engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations;
(7) when a driver of a tractor-trailer commercial motor vehicle combination is unable to move into the right lane safely due to another vehicle overtaking or passing his vehicle to the right; or
(8) when a driver of a vehicle requiring a commercial motor vehicle license to operate is unable to move into the right lane safely due to a highway grade or another vehicle overtaking or passing his vehicle on the right.
To read the legislation (S. C. Code § 56-5-1885) in full, please visit: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess124_2021-2022/bills/3011.htm.